Monday May 10 2010
Family of crash victim Sandy Hauser establishing non-profit to provide rides to potential drunk drivers
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Sandy Hauser’s life is over but her family is now moving forward with a plan to turn the tragedy of her death into a legacy to help others. ”Sandra’s Safe Ride Home” is the name of a non-profit Hauser relatives are moving toward creating. It would raise money for scrip that drinking establishments could provide over-imbibers to give them transportation and prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a car and driving drunk. Hauser lost her life early March 11 after a wrong-way drive on Interstate 80. She crashed into a rock outcropping near the Maple Street exit after turning her vehicle around. The crash occurred the morning after Hauser turned 25. Stepmother Joy Hauser of Garden Valley said she understands that, ultimately, her stepdaughter made the final decision to drive that night after celebrating in Auburn. But still, she wishes someone had intervened. “I would have hoped that someone would have spoken up for her,” Joy Hauser said. “It’s human nature for people to drink and drive. While it’s not right, we know it can happen.” The family is still trying to piece together the events of that night and why things went so terribly wrong in the morning. Joy Hauser said she and Sandy’s father, Tim Hauser, had dinner with her that night and then the newly turned-25-year-old went off to celebrate at Auburn night spots. “At one point she was with friends and then she wasn’t,” Joy Hauser said. “We still don’t know what exactly happened. It kind of doesn’t make sense.” Casey Hauser, Sandy’s older sister, said the grieving family found both financial and emotional support from the community after the accident. With money left over after services were paid for, they turned to the idea of establishing a non-profit organization to provide rides home from local bars for people too impaired to drive, she said. Part of the plan is to have an educational component to provide bartenders and bar owners with information on how to recognize those who have had too much to drink and what they can do to keep them from driving, Casey Hauser said. “She was my best friend,” Casey Hauser said. “It wasn’t just that I lost a sister. She was funny, outgoing – all around a good person and she just happened to make a bad choice.” Until the non-profit has been registered with the state, donations may be made to the Sandra Hauser Memorial Benefit Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank branch. The Placer County Coroner’s Office hasn’t released the Sandy Hauser’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash. Test results normally take from eight to 10 weeks.